Sunday, April 13, 2008

Policon Points

Tucson, Arizona. To think I forgot Policon as one of the tippers at the prior post. Well, at the "Tipping Point" story Policon's comment (#16) warrants publication as a story. For now, I will note his remark about the advocacy of SAIAT by "nice, smart people," which precisely replicates Cigar Man's assertions. One afternoon CM and I got into a rather heated exchange. He raised his voice, "YOU COULD TRAIN A MILLION!!" and it would make no difference at all. Now, I can see that he was 100 percent accurate.

From Policon:
Navigator, you sell yourself short. Can you really not describe the Beast? I'm guessing that most everyone posting here is actually a member of the Beast, the SUPERORGANISM that rules our town. If not, why would we not use our real names?

The Beast is the government-based economy of Tucson. Our politics follow our economy. Tucson has an inordinately high number of core jobs in Big G: local, county, state, fed. We also have a very high number of Little "g" jobs: Raytheon, UofA, Pima College, TUSD, Tohono, TREO, COPE, CEBUS, MTCVB, IDA, (groups whose funding comes primarily from govt).

The old "Five C's", cattle, cotton, copper, climate, and citrus, have been replaced by G,C&E (govt, climate, and education). Our largest "private" employer is a bomb factory for the government. This makes us somewhat unusual by US standards. If we want to affect change, we must understand and deal with the actual battlefield. As Howard Bloom describes in "The Lucifer Principal:"

"SUPERORGANISMS, IDEAS, and the PECKING ORDER -- the triad of human evil -- are not recent inventions "programmed into us by Western society, consumerism, capitalism, television violence, blood-and-guts films or rock and roll. They are built into our physiology. They have been with us since the dawn of the human race."

We aren't going to get anywhere with this blog without recognizing that the SUPERORGANISM ruling Tucson is in place because we are a government town. The forces that caused TREO to consolidate power in itself are the kind of self-protecting activities that all SUPERORGANISMS engage in.

Who was championing the SAIAT cause? Were they high in the PECKING ORDER, or just nice, smart people? Nice people don't wield power. People high up in the PECKING ORDER do. This blog needs to embrace the regime as it exists.

x4mr, will you make a side-bar link to an org chart displaying the names, bios, email, and phone numbers of the Supergroup and the hot staffers who are actually controlling decisions this week and next month? If a few calls and letters have profound effects on electeds, you wouldn't believe what it does to non-electeds.

This blog should also articulate the IDEA it promotes. x4mr, can you honestly say your ideal is "Meritocracy, and Anti-Bureaucracy?" Are you pissed that the feisty, nimble, cost-effective training program you ran on near-passion alone was crushed for no good reason? Will we rail against the machine even when it pits us against other political philosophies we do embrace?

Everything I'm learning about you says you will. You respect political philosophies, but you respect your innate common sense even more so. I think you hate the Nanny state and Liberal Fascism.

There is a wind blowing down I-10 as our Tucson liberal government based SUPERORGANISM collides with a conservative free economy SUPERORGANISM that is steadily making us into a suburb of Metro-Phoenix. We may not like it, but this is the battlefield where we stand.

The Tucson Liberal Voter SUPERORGANISM is also under attack from balkanizing communities (Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, etc.) which is exacerbating the collision with Phoenix. Employees of the UofA, TUSD, Raytheon, etc., worry about their government jobs. Are they safe? Are they meaningful? They vote to keep power in the hands of their SUPERORGANISM leaders (think of the union influence in Tucson city council elections).

If we want to stampede the herd, we'd better truly understand the motivations of the average cow, not just their current leaders. Are we stampeding them out of fear or greed? Are they supposed to recoil from the SAIAT and Rio Nuevo Bridge follies, or embrace the greener pasture of Phoenix's plutocracy? More to come.
4/13/2008 9:21 AM


A published author from London contacted me to discuss Magma Copper Company. We spoke for an hour about Magma, CEO Burgess Winter, my mentors Craig Steinke, Bob Mueller, and Errol Anderson. I told him about the Harvard Business Review material, KCB, Landmark Education, Labor Secretary Robert Reich, and the Voice of Magma.

Australian giant BHP bought the jewel for $2.4 billion and shut it down, displacing 2600 workers. They would not sell, mothball, or run at reduced operations. San Manuel could produce billions of pounds for less than $1 per pound. Copper now costs $4 a pound. BHP deliberately flooded the mine so it could never operate again. They dismantled the smelter completely.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Policon has accurately described the underlying fundamental challenge of Tucson's political economy--the fact that the economy is based on government or its derivative entities. No economy can be so dependent on government and be sustainable, but fortunately Raytheon's contribution of public dollars to Tucson's economy was generated nationwide, and not just from local tax base.

Policon has extended this blog's discussion "beyond good and evil", so to speak. As with recent posts of Travis and others, he notes that our problem in Tucson is largely systemic, and that we must cope with or exploit that underlying systemic reality or we are doomed to fail. As Cigar Man and Robish and others have suggested, Tucson has many competent people operating in an untenable environment, one where other rationally self-interested competent people exploit the chaos of incompetent bureaucracy. Unfortunately, too many are perpetuating the chaos of incompetent bureaucracy because it serves their own interests, in opposition to the community's.

I see the only solution as growing our private sector. We have to nurture the entrepreneurs that we do have, and grow the private sector organically. Perhaps TREO can serve a useful purpose of making noise about private companies moving here, even when they have nothing to do with it, allowing for small start-ups to get traction without all the attention.

We should hold our noses and hitch our economic wagon to Phoenix. Tucson companies can be suppliers to larger Phoenix companies.

4/13/2008 1:44 PM  
Blogger Cigar Man said...

Most well said, Policon! You get it as well as anyone I know, and you take this blog into terrain that stretches x4mr even further than I did.

Your comment suggests that you have not met x4mr, but have heard about him from more than this blog. I heard about him when SAIAT's first ED resigned and the place was gutted and dismissed as door knob dead. When x4mr turned the place around in 2004 (at less than 1/4 of prior funding level), I and just about everybody else was completely blown away. PCC (now that is one FAT COW!) was so furious they had to be sedated.

Then he actually became incredibly productive, building strength in both reputation and financial well being!! No one had any idea how smart this guy was. With no experience at all, he just did it.

He shocked a lot of people. That was nothing, though, compared to his resignation and publication of "Something Else." Half the people didn't even know what a blog was. I remember one guy going, "He has a what?"

I have been and still remain skeptical regarding what a blog can actually influence or change. However, when x4mr talks about "growth" he is not kidding. I have never seen anything like it, not even close.

When I think of what has occurred in the last three years, no way will I dismiss what might be possible in the next three, or even the next one. x4mr is not the predictable type.

I don't think even he knows where he is headed. His dissertation is HOT. The only prediction I will make is one day x4mr will have a book on Amazon.com, and it will sell.

4/13/2008 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon #1 makes some good points about people operating in the system that Policon has described so well, but from my observation, our political problem (continuing to let bureaucrats and feckless electeds screw up our economy), while a logical consequence of our government-dominated economy, doesn't have to be accepted as inevitable.

We have an entrenched class--supergroup, whatever--that protects its position by nurturing its collective and individual relationships with Hein and Huckelberry. These people, from what I can tell, do not pull the H boys aside behind closed doors and say what must be said. They acquiesce. Their primary tactical objective is to preserve their access and their influence.

They spend so much time distorting the public interest that they don't really know what it looks like anymore. In fact, they do not want to know. The truth is an inconvenient obstacle to their ongoing quest to feather their political nests.

These people are the weavers of the Cloth that make up the emperor's clothes.

With a city and region that is so dependent on government, we can ill afford to have elected officials run unopposed, and to have anything less than excellence in the administration of this government-heavy economy.

4/13/2008 2:01 PM  
Anonymous observer said...

Good remarks, all. Policon's post clearly reflects someone with a strong background in the area, and I agree with anon that growing private sector is key.

I can share x4mr's disgust, however, with terrible decisions made by corrupt or dishonest people exploiting the system.

At first I didn't get the inclusion of the Magma stuff, but I think x4mr is reinforcing how unbelievably STUPID decisions get made at great cost to the community.

I would suggest that the "tippers" provide information here, since as he notes, the press is run by the system. If this place starts to really get read, perhaps events like TREO unilaterally shutting down a valuable program to steal its funding will happen less often.

CM is right about PCC. Talk about a lot of senior people making big bucks. Another fat cow is MTCVB. They have it even sweeter than TREO. They just hold out their hand and the bed tax rakes it in.

X4mr's story really is sad. They cough up millions and millions for so little, in some cases no results at all, and they gut an institute that only needed $1/4M to serve thousands of workers.

Another blogger Sirocco has a good blog (A Bunch of Hot Air), and over there x4mr told how SAIAT could allow a company to hire a marginal worker and use customized, subsidized training to quickly bring the worker up to speed. The genius and simplicity of that!

The lack of a skilled workforce certainly does not have any economic impact here. Oh, the stupidity, the stupidity!!

4/13/2008 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tucson Weekly is holding its annual Best of Tucson awards and soliciting reader pics. The first category listed is for Best Blog.

Let's all write in Sustainability, Equity, Development, and bring home the coveted trophy for x4mr--or at least more attention to this Most Worthy Blog.

4/13/2008 4:14 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

Anon,

Thanks for the kind words. That they have a blog category shows the growth of the phenomenon. I only know the political blogs, so have no idea what others exist.

I will have to post later regarding policon and the other comments. Of course support would be terrific in the Weekly vote. I checked it out. You have to provide a valid email address and vote for at least 20 or more categories. They actually request that you leave items blank (after reaching 20) if you have no opinion.

For all I know, "Bambi's Bikini Blog" will trounce us all.

4/13/2008 5:53 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Congratulations, x4mr, on getting the attention of some people that are way out of my league. I can understand why you took a "let me get back to you" on the points they raised, especially Policon, who is challenging you to get real, to "rise to the next level" and put names, charts, numbers and email addresses behind the material you post. He is showing you what's next.

Be careful what you ask for, x4mr. Robish, Travis, James, and especially Policon represent a clear "step up" in who is reading in terms of politics, influence, etc.

I won't embarrass myself trying to add to what they are saying. I will just say that you are not attracting comments from idiots. That says something. I know you know Cigar Man and the Associate. Do you know Robish? Thelma?

I must say this place has become downright entertaining.

I will go to the Weekly and vote for your blog, but if Hooter's has a bikini cam, this place is toast.

4/13/2008 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Anon #2, you should add Hecker to your "H" list and make the head count 3.

4/15/2008 6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scarlett,
Hecker is typical of the people I was referring to in comment #3, those whose primary objective is to maintain access to and influence with, Hein and Huckelberry. Hecker is one of the sycophants pretending to hold the pretty but nonexistent gowns worn by the electeds and the H boys. As long as he keeps getting appointed to bond committees and doing the city and county's bidding on groups to promote Regional This or Regional That, he will continue to be Tucson's biggest suck-up. And of course, he is Trasoff's campaign treasurer and TREO's attorney. He connects all the dots.
"Anon 2"

4/15/2008 8:23 AM  

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